The best thing about tarot is that honestly, you can ask those cards A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G. There’s no question too out-there for the tarot—and better yet, there’s no judgment. There’s literally no limit to the issues tarot can help you resolve and understand. As a tarot reader, personally, I avoid questions about health (I believe those are better answered by a medical professional), but embrace every other topic. The answers are all already out there and waiting—you just have to access them. If you’re using tarot to make major moves in your life—or just help you figure out what TV series to binge-watch next—here’s what to do.
But first, why should you see a professional reader?
Initially, when you’re learning the cards’ meanings and practicing creating spreads, it’s a good idea to get a professional reading. A professional tarot reader offers you an outside perspective—plus, you can watch how it’s done and maybe pick up some tips.
Over the years of doing professional readings for clients all over the world, I have found common questions: Everyone wants to know whether they are on the right path, and if they're doing what they're supposed to be doing. Everyone doubts that their life is going as it should. That Saturn Return is REAL, btw! Around age 30, these doubts and self-questioning really surface, and I do many readings for people about their career and purpose around this age.
Everyone also obsesses over their relationships—overthinking things, projecting their private fears and anxieties from the past onto other people, and idealizing people they shouldn’t. Even if all other components in your life are firing on all cylinders, if your relationship landscape is challenging or empty, then it’s hard to feel secure and valued.
Because tarot is the product of 500 years of humans shaping those universal card meanings, it's a collective repository of human wisdom.
What if I'm doing my own tarot reading?
The hardest part about reading tarot is learning how to craft a full, rounded interpretation out of a scattering of individual cards. The cards are more than the sum of their parts, and learning to interpret them takes time and practice. It’s also a unique magic that YOU bring to the process, because no one’s interpretation will be the same as another’s. You can sit and stare at the cards as long as you want, make notes, and look them up—but at some point, you’ve got to combine their meanings into a coherent answer or story for your questioner. This is why tarot reading takes so much practice and persistence.
Questions to ask a tarot reader
A lot of people go to tarot readers and simply say NOTHING, as though they’re testing the tarot reader’s skill to see if they can guess the question you want to know the answer to. But would you go to a doctor, or any other professional, and pay them money to try to guess your problem without giving them any information about your symptoms or concerns? It’s a waste of time, and it’s possible you’ll totally miss out on what it is you want to find out.
Not all tarot readers (like me) are psychic or clairvoyant, so they can’t read you ~cold~. Give your reader a brief summary of where you’re at and what you want to know so they can design a reading tailored to you. Treat your tarot reader like any professional—tell them what you need and what your expectations are. That way, you’ll get a more specific answer—and your money’s worth!
How to frame questions for the tarot cards
Whether you’re seeing a professional or reading your own cards, take a few minutes to think about what, exactly, it is you want to know. Then follow these steps:
Break your questions into smaller chunks
Generally, an in-depth tarot reading will include at least three cards. If you’re reading your own cards, break your main question down into three or more smaller parts that, put together, will lead to a well-rounded answer. Lay out your spread in chronological or logical order. This way, the cards will form a path that you can “walk.” If you’re seeing a tarot reader, this thought process can also help you get specific about what it is you want to know.
Think about the past and the future
A common tarot spread is the past/present/future spread, in which three cards are drawn to represent, well, the past, present, and future. Many other spreads are variations on this basic format, with additional cards shedding further light on your situation. For spreads like this, consider what actions got you where you are now, what in your past might be the root cause that’s fueling your situation now, and what steps you’ll need to take next. Finally, consider what follow-ups or further thoughts you might have once you know the answer to your main question.
Make your questions specific
The tighter your individual questions, the easier it will be to answer them—whether you’re reading your own cards or seeing a professional reader. Tarot cards often have multiple, sometimes abstract meanings, which makes it hard enough to tie them back to your question. If your question is already multilayered, it just adds another layer of confusion. For example, don’t ask, “What are their true feelings and will that make them get back in touch with me?” Instead, split that into two separate questions and draw a card for each: “What are their true feelings for me?” and then “Will they get back in touch with me?”
You can ask WHEN things will happen
Don’t be afraid of “when” questions! The cards all link to time periods or limits, so it’s okay to ask questions like, “When will they get back in touch with me?” Your tarot reader or tarot booklet will have more details, but roughly, each of the four suits is tied to a time period. Wands indicates spring or days, Swords indicates weeks or autumn; Cups indicates months or summer, and Pentacles indicates years or winter.
Think carefully before asking a yes or no question
Tarot can be used for yes or no questions, BUT it’s not as easy as it might first appear. Sure, the question structure is straightforward, but none of the cards specifically mean "yes" or "no," so the cards can be tricky to interpret. And TBH, you're probably already struggling to interpret this situation, which is why you’ve ended up asking the tarot! You could overcome this by pre-selecting two cards and deciding which represents "yes" (maybe the Ace of Wands) and which represents "no" (maybe the Ten of Swords), then shuffling those two cards and pulling one or the other
It’s okay NOT to ask questions too
If there’s something specific you want to know, please ask! But sometimes, you don’t know what it is you’re looking for and you just want to see what the cards will reveal. If this is the case, tell your reader a little bit about your own background (like your relationship status, job, home, and any burning issues going on) and say you’d like to be inspired or informed about your life right now.
Questions for your tarot spread
After a breakup
If you’ve recently split from someone and want to learn more about why—or find out if you’ll get back together—draw one card for each of these questions:
- What is the relationship’s current energy?
- What’s the root cause of the split?
- What are their true feelings for me right now?
- What are their intentions to me now?
- What is the future nature of this relationship?
- What’s the best step for me to take now?
When job searching
If you’re feeling unsure about your career path or considering a new job, you can lay out this spread and see what kind of career counseling the tarot can provide. Again, draw one card per question.
- What’s my current career energy?
- What obstacle do I need to overcome?
- What’s my career calling?
- How do I move closer to this calling?
- Who can help me?
- What’s the best step for me to take in the month ahead?
When deciding between two options
If you’re using the tarot to choose between two options (two job offers, two apartments, maybe a love triangle???), this spread can reveal the pros and cons of each choice and help you make the right one. You get the deal: Ask one question per card.
- What’s the underlying root cause of this crossroads?
- What outcome is most likely with option A?
- What outcome is most likely with option B?
- What else should I consider that’s been missed?
- What’s my next best step today?
When something's off with a friend
If you’re worried about the state of a friendship—maybe you're feeling that not all is well but can’t get to the bottom of why—you could see what insights, and fixes, this spread reveals. Yep, again: Ask one question per card.
- Why is this friendship important?
- What is the root cause of this recent shift in tone?
- What does my friend believe has changed?
- What can I do to bring this issue to a head?
- How will this friendship evolve from here?
- What I should do right now?